Oct 31, 2008

In loving memory of Theramae----

DJ and I had just returned home when the phone rang yesterday afternoon. Theramae's DIL was calling to tell me, as the quilt group leader, that she had passed away late Tuesday. The memorial service was scheduled for this morning at 11 but the obituary had not made the local newspaper in time for notification.

She had just turned 86 in June. Sarah was just a few month's older and we lost her earlier this year. What dynamic women they both were! I have shown this picture of her before--at the Christmas party 07 when we presented her with a friendship quilt we had made for her. Her health deteriorated over the months that followed and she was only able to come to one meeting this year for a few hours. She had three devoted caregivers that allowed her stay in her own home till the end. Not many people get to do that. Feisty!

Theramae was my "right hand" girl. Most of the time she sewed her tops at home so she manned the pinning table with an energy that I would wager we younger members wished we had. We are forever quoting her line "it will quilt out" --she was right about that. That and the caution not to be smoothing the quilt--pat it but don't smooth it. She was always taking quilts home to bind and sometimes quilt for one of the others. Since my dislike of binding is legendary, you know what a help that was.

She and Sarah both would really crank out the quilts like women on a mission! I always take a picture of each quilt and get two copies made--one for our photo albums and one for the maker. Her DIL said she would make a point to show the pictures to anyone she could even she didn't have the quilt on hand to show them. I know she spoke about them to her circle at church as well. The pastor spoke of it at the service today--not about WTIL necessarily but the quilts that she had made and given away over the years.

When Jane and I saw her recently she said she had not been able to read or sew anymore. You could tell that was very frustrating to her as that was two things she dearly loved. We were going to look into some books on tape for her as an alternative to TV viewing.

She was one of the original members of our little group. Joy and I met first in Aug. 1999. In Jan. 2000 Joy hosted a sew in for Wrap Them in Love at her house. I didn't know anyone other than Joy who quilted but Joy had owned a quilt shop at one time and knew some quilters. She invited Betsy who invited Theramae who attended her church and she knew quilted. The following month we had an organizational meeting---Theramae was one of the original Belles. With her passing there are just three of us left. We were naming the originals off at lunch today, those of us who were able to attend the service.

She had been all over the globe as her husband had been in the Air Force and raised two daughters and a son. When her husband passed away, she moved here to be closer to a daughter who lives locally. Theramae would tell you that she was "not from here" meaning Calhoun County. She didn't necessarily hold with the prevailing notions and was not afraid to share her opinion about anything. She had fairly progressive views--something you might not expect from a woman her age, actually. I don't know why that surprised me a bit but I found it very refreshing. She and I shared the same political and world views---without getting into just what those are/were. The stash ring is supposed to remain apolitical but suffice it to say, it is not necessarily what most of Alabama is or how they think. (If I hear "Alabama values" being touted one more time in a TV ad in this election cycle I might scream, LOL)

One of the last quilt pictures I posted here was one of her tops shown HERE. Jane picked up some quilts the other day before she left with some local quilters to go to the quilt show in Houston--Theramae's was one of them so I didn't get the chance to show her how it turned out with those Baptist Fans.

She will be missed but not forgotten.

Oct 23, 2008

you aren't helping!

The color is way off and the part under the light source too bright but maybe you can see why occasionally it is hard to get any "work" done. Skyler has taken to burrowing under the quilts whether they are on the bed or I'm quilting them. He got himself situated just under the hoop and begin gnawing on a safety pin. Once I got the camera out and few shots taken, he moved on.

I found some fabrics for the appliance covers yesterday. I told DJ to drop me off at Hobby Lobby while he went down to Home Depot. We both came home happy with our finds. This morning I drug out the green fabrics that might be suitable for my project. Now I don't feel much like cutting or sewing for our sewing date tomorrow----go figure.

This same quilt still has some machine quilting that needs done on the bands. I started on it and then had to set it aside in favor of the donation quilt stack so it has languished for at least three weeks. I am just hand quilting in the white spaces and SID on the print parts. I think I told you that I would like to give this to DJ for Christmas or our anniversary in January so I guess this could be a "nag" project as well---it is hanging over my head too.

I'll decide in the morning what I want to do for our sewing date--I think you know which way I'm leaning, LOL. Now if I can just convince Skyler to not be so helpful...........

Oct 21, 2008

finally caught up

I have finally managed to quilt my way through the pile of donation quilts atop the armoire as of Monday morning---11 total for me. Big woo hoo and happy dancing here! Took me about three weeks to get the job done with a few days off for good behavior, LOL. Shown are two of the last ones. Theramae's top that I did with Baptist Fans on the left and my challenge quilt on the right. I'll post better pics once the binding is done and the markings removed.

A shout out to Pat who was kind enough to quilt up this one for me in a manner far better than it my pathetic attempts to free motion would have looked like. Liz in SC volunteered to do one as well so I unpinned it . It is on its way to her now--spared me from a bunch of cross hatching around 12 dresden plate blocks. Thanks in advance for the quilting offer, Liz. Since it will be quilted on a handi-quilter now instead of my domestic sewing machine, I had to replace the backing. We trimmed it too close to use what we had on it when we pinned it but that can be used for something else down the line, no doubt. Stash busted a little more space off my shelf so Skyler should be able to get on the book shelf a little more easily, LOL. Quilt back sewing is the closest I have come to sewing in weeks!

I did try to do some outlining in the challenge quilt focus blocks but ended up taking it out---twice. Horrid! To be truthful the thread color was not right either and that accounted for failed attempt #2. I ended up just doing two simple lines of a serpentine stitch on my Viking 500 just to hold it down. The fabric is packed with color that it doesn't really show up anyway on the back or the front.

I am not sure where Theramae found the pattern for her little quilt to give a pattern source but it was really a simple, scrappy quilt. I know that she used a package of cut 2 1/2 inch squares that Finn passed onto the Belles for some of it as I recognize some of the fabrics plus some for the group's previous projects along with it. Hard telling were a bit of backing fabric might show up down the line! Sadly, this will probably be the last one she was able to make for the group as her health concerns are keeping her from sewing at this point. Once I get the binding done, I will take it over to show her before donating it.

I drew it up in EQ though not in the same colors and definitely not colored in a scrappy manner. There are no stars or Prairie Flower like blocks in the quilt but the 4 patches and star points are placed in such a manner that you see two of those type blocks. Good scrappy quilt that would lend itself well to leaders and enders, at least for the 4 patches that would be required.

And, speaking of Skyler--here he is in a quiet moment catching some afternoon soon. We have had some cooler days lately or that window would have been open.

DJ has been working off and on trying to replace the front door threshold and door sweep. We both went to the bedroom to keep the nosy kitty out of the task at hand. I think DJ has found that a replacement part is not so easy to track down 23 years after the house was built. The hunt has been made harder still by not being able to find who the door manufacturer is/was. He ended up putting both old pieces back down--for now.

Think I'll do a little hand quilting this afternoon. Tomorrow is pretty booked up with a doctor's visit for some recent test results late morning for me. DJ is coming with me as we will go out for lunch (probably at Cici's Pizza) afterwards and stop at a few more hardware stores in Oxford. I am thinking about having him drop me off down at Hobby Lobby while he goes to Home Depot as I need something for a kitchen project. Seems like there was something else going on this week? Oh yeah, now I remember.

Actually, Cher will be off on Friday and has issued an invitation to come sew with her online. I am thinking it might be a good time for a"nag" day project. I define that as a project that is nagging at you to get started or one that someone else is nagging at you to do--in my case, it would be a new toaster cover that DJ has asked me at least three times to get to. I need some coordinating fabric since there are few more appliances that I want to cover and maybe make some placemats.

Not much else happening around here----thanks for stopping by-------

Oct 12, 2008


I'm still at the machine quilting, LOL, though making progress---I am about to start quilting #9 of 13 having marked Baptist Fans on one of the tops Saturday afternoon. I quilted #8 yesterday but it was a small one with a fair amount of zoom lines. Friday, was a "lost day"-- I had a medical test that took a chunk of the morning. I was not feeling too red hot once I got home so resting and taking it easy appealed to me a lot more. Baked some banana muffins and started on supper prep basically between reading an old Nora Roberts paperback from my shelves. (Another goal--read some of these Friends of the Library collected books, book club titles that I have so I can donate them back for their cause)

I might have started quilting the one I marked except that the tension started acting up and I needed to get some white thread first anyway. Changing the needle, re-threading and adjusting the machine dials was not doing the trick. Consulting the manual indicated that the numbers were where they needed to be. I ended up cleaning and de-linting the machine. That did the trick. So other than winding some bobbins, I am good to go now.

When I picked out the next top I wanted to do, I decided that one in the pile was far too small for kid's quilt donation so I am NOT going to quilt it. Took that one out of the tally and added the top that I intend to pin at the meeting on Tuesday (my bonus challenge quilt). This little panel, however, would be a great learning tool for the person who donated it and added so many quilts to the stack in the first place. Hey, it is small (wallhanging sized), is pinned with flat batting so less bulk on the machine bed. It won't matter if you mess up plus I'll show you how to do it. Oh best clarify THAT sentence--show you how to quilt, not mess it up though some days I could that part too.

I have a volunteer for free motioning one quilt. Liz (not sure if she has a blog to link to) emailed me off post about it. I do have one she could do the honors with her Handi-quilter. THX!! Once I get the particulars I will be happy to send it on.

I did take a picture of a couple of the more recent completions-----first, Lois' Twin Sisters top. Cute and scrappy. The pattern is in Eleanor Burns' Quilts Through the Seasons. Linda C has made one as well which is one of the remaining quilts in the pile. I think I will mark a small square in the centers of the blocks on that one though rather than accentuate the pinwheel blades as I did on Lois' version just to shake things up a bit.

I want to make one of these but I believe I will change the strip size to make a bigger block. Burns has you cut 2 1/2 inch strips for a 5 inch finished block. While these are cuter than the dickens this small, you also have to make a whole lot of them. Even with two blocks for the deal, positive and negative versions, that is more than I would want to make--boredom factor would probably set in. I don't know if you can spot the pairs of blocks from this view or not. Lois did say that you should have a high degree of contrast in the fabrics. She thought that a few choices were too close in color or pattern and the pinwheel didn't show up as well.

This is one that Linda C made from some leftover 9 patch blocks and strips around them Courthouse Steps style. I had cut that binding for another project long ago and didn't use it at the last minute so it came in handy for this one with all the floral fabrics. Stashbusting wherever you can, right?

As I work I think about what I would like to be doing next as a "reward" of sorts. Piecing is always my first love in the quilting process. Quilting is okay (and necessary) but a stack of it can be a burden. Since the last two in the pile are my own two challenge quilts, I know I will have binding to finish but that is NO reward, LOL. The next FABs whacky challenge from Pat and Cher would be fun. I kinda, sorta know what I want to do with it. That will need to be done but I have some time leeway yet. I really need to finish the quilting, hand and machine, on the RR crossing if DJ is going to be able to use that this winter but I need a break from machine quilting for a week or two, anyway.

But what I really would like to start on is the Nancy Halvorsen "Be Attitudes" quilt. I fell in love with the one that Julie K was working on. I have the book and some of her Williams Inn fabric line to get started on it. In fact, that was my birthday present from my husband-- he gives me money and I spend it on what I want which works out well for BOTH of us. HERE is the link to Julie's top. I can see where this could be an ongoing top, like the redwork Santa blocks I started. Lots of handwork with the button hole stitching. Well, that is all a distant dream if I don't get cracking on the matters at hand but if it keeps me motivated, then so be it.

Hope you are having a good day in whatever you chose to do. Thanks for stopping by. Till next time

Oct 7, 2008

5 down--8 to go

It seems like I have been quilting for "weeks" but I only have 5 donation quilts done to show for my efforts. 8 more to go and one more to pin on our meeting date. Since I have some of my own projects that need tending for a change, I am NOT going to bring any more home with me---and I am sticking to that!

Here are a couple of the ones I have been working on this past week----full pictures later when the binding is all done and I take their "official portraits", LOL.

This first one is a modified nine patch type block in two colors donated by Janet E. This has been living at my house since we made the trip to Bowdon, GA a couple months back. The way she joined the blocks made it look like a Puss in the Corner variation. I tried some "Borders Made Easy" paper on this one, just to shake things up a bit. 2nd time I had done this in my quilting career. I remembered after the fact that I had had a hard time removing the adhesive strips that hold it in place but maybe they have done something to improve that aspect of it as it ripped off easily. It went on easily with just a few minor shortened cables on two sides as the quilt was slightly rectangular. What I didn't remember is that I had pins underneath the paper!! I moved them to the top but you know you always a miss a couple so danged if I didn't bust two needles along the way.

This is a top that Finn donated to the cause some time back. I only remodeled this slightly by narrowing the quilt by one block and adding them to the bottom to make a rectangular quilt and bordering it. Coincidentally, I owned some of that burgundy print fabric that she used in the body of the quilt so that worked out well. It took me 3 days to complete as the square in a squares are all SID with most of the work done on Monday. Then I crosshatched all the setting squares and triangles masking the first border that was the same fabric as the block backgrounds a bit. Lastly, an egg and dart cable was done on the last border. Not sure how good that turned out in the pic I took but trust me, it IS there. I hope Finn will be pleased to see how it turned out.

Jane and I went out to lunch today so she took two of the finished tops for binding detail, Finn's being one of them. We stopped to see our friend Theramae on the way home for a lovely visit. Health concerns have kept her from coming to quilting since the first of the year and that happens in your 80's sometimes. The mind might be willing but the body is letting you down. We miss her. She misses us.

Take a peek at Pat's post of today for one she took off my hands. She did a far better job with anything I would come up with since I detest free motion work. I felt my "CGF" quilt needed an all over design and the popcorn panto looks terrific on it. It will make a new home with a project Pat's friend Paula is doing for kids this coming Christmas season---40 some quilts will be needed, I believe Pat said. Thanks again, Pat!

Having said that, I am half thinking of marking some Baptist Fans on one of the tops in the stack though it might be easier if we re-pinned the top with the backing on top first. Fons and Porter's "Sew Many Quilts" magazine from September/October 98 had an article on this along with a pattern to make your own stencil to mark the lines. I have used it for two quilts in my past--one of them, a log cabin. I'll mull that one over and if I am still thinking in a couple days time, I'm unpinning and marking it.

Last picture---Skyler tracking the sun through the house. 8 in the morning or thereabouts, this is a good spot to catch some rays. Also he thinks he is hiding. From my vantage spot across the hall I often just see one paw sticking out so he might have something there. He leaps out at DJ's pant legs in a flash if feeling particularly feisty. What a silly boy he can be sometimes!

Guess that's it for now----hope you have had a good day.